Meet Alexander Twilight – The First Black Person To Earn A Bachelor’s Degree In The United States


September 24, 2020

This is long overdue.

The state of Vermont is honoring Alexander Twilight, the first Black person to earn a Bachelor’s degree from an American college or university, WCAX reports. 


Twilight was a Vermont native, born in Bradford to a biracial father and white mother, which may have kept his real racial identity hidden during the time. The scholar became the first person to receive a bachelor’s degree, graduating with a bachelor of arts from Middlebury College in 1823. 

An initiative has been created in his honor to preserve his legacy and acknowledge his African ancestry. Rep. Peter Welch presented the Congressional Record to the Old Stone House Museum, which houses the initiative. 

“His legacy as an educator lives on through the museum, where his ideals are reflected in the museum’s educational programs,” Welch said. 


Old Stone House Museum Board of Trustees, President Carmen Jackson, said the museum and acknowledgment would help educate people about Twilight’s rich legacy.

“We’ve called it the Alexander Twilight initiative…the idea being to acknowledge his [Black] heritage but also to just let people know about him and his times,” Jackson said. “One of our main missions [is] education and this is a way of educating people,” 

Twilight would become the first Black person elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in 1836, the only Black person elected to a state legislature before the civil war. 


Thank you for your work, Mr. Twilight.

Photo Courtesy of WCAX

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